Monthly Archives: December 2014

Andreas Vesalius and the Science of Anatomy

Andreas Vesalius and the Science of Anatomy

On December 31, 1514, Brabantian (in modern-day Belgium) anatomist, physician Andreas Vesalius was born. Vesalius is often referred to as the founder of modern human anatomy. He is best known as author of one of the most influential books on human anatomy, De humani corporis fabrica (On the Fabric of the Human Body). During the 16th century, it is assumed that Europeans had only little understanding of the human anatomy.…
John Milne and the History of Seismology

John Milne and the History of Seismology

On December 30, 1850, British geologist and mining engineer John Milne was born. He is best known for his invention of the horizontal pendulum seismograph (1894). Furthermore, he was one of the European scientists that helped organize the seismic survey of Japan in the last half of the 1800’s. John Milne grew up in Lancashire and received his undergraduate education at the Department of Applied Sciences, King College London. He…
Christian Jürgensen Thomsen and the Three-age System

Christian Jürgensen Thomsen and the Three-age System

On December 29, 1788, Danish antiquarian Christian Jürgensen Thomsen was born. Hes is best known for the development of early archaeological techniques and methods. He also introduced the Three-age system, i.e. the periodization of human prehistory into three consecutive time periods, named for their respective tool-making technologies, the Stone, Iron and Bronze Ages. Christian Jürgensen Thomsen was born in Copenhagen into a pretty wealthy merchant family. Not much is known…
John von Neumann – Game Theory and the Digital Computer

John von Neumann – Game Theory and the Digital Computer

On December 28, 1903, Hungarian and American pure and applied mathematician, physicist, inventor and polymath John von Neumann was born. He made major contributions to a number of fields including mathematics, physics, economics, computing, and statistics. He was a key figure in the development of game theory, the concepts of cellular automata, and the digital computer. He is definitely one of the candidates to write several biographical articles of, each…
William H. Masters – Master of Sex

William H. Masters – Master of Sex

On December 27, 1915, American gynecologist William Howell Masters was born. He is best known as the senior member of the Masters and Johnson sexuality research team. Along with Virginia E. Johnson, he pioneered research into the nature of human sexual response and the diagnosis and treatment of sexual dysfunctions and disorders from 1957 until the 1990s. Probably you will know him because of the popular tv series ‘Masters of…
Gorillas in the Mist

Gorillas in the Mist

On December 26, 1985, American zoologist, primatologist, and anthropologist Dian Fossey was killed. She is best known for her extensive study of gorilla groups over a period of 18 years in the mountain forests of Rwanda. Her 1983 book, Gorillas in the Mist, combines her scientific study of the mountain gorilla at Karisoke Research Center with her own personal story. Dian Fossey was born in San Francisco, California, to George…
John Michell and the Effect of Gravity on Light

John Michell and the Effect of Gravity on Light

On December 25, 1724, English natural philosopher and geologist John Michell was (probably) born. He is best known as both a theorist and an experimenter, who was the first to propose the effects of gravity on light, later resulting in the physics of general relativity and black holes. John Michell was born in Nottinghamshire, however, his exact birth place and date remain unknown. He earned his Master’s degree drom Queen’s…
Charles Hermite’s admiration for simple beauty in Mathematics

Charles Hermite’s admiration for simple beauty in Mathematics

On December 24, 1821, French mathematician Charles Hermite was born. He was the first to prove that e, the base of natural logarithms, is a transcendental number. Furthermore, he is famous for his work in the theory of functions including the application of elliptic functions and his provision of the first solution to the general equation of the fifth degree, the quintic equation. Charles Hermite studied at the Collège de…
Anthony Fokker and his famous Aircrafts

Anthony Fokker and his famous Aircrafts

On December 23, 1939, Dutch aviation pioneer and aircraft manufacturer Anton Herman Gerard “Anthony” Fokker passed away. He is most famous for the fighter aircraft he produced in Germany during the First World War. It is believed that at the age of about 16, Anthony Fokker witnessed his first airplane flight and his enthusiasm for aviation was awakened. He enrolled in a school in Germany that offered a course in…
Jean-Henri Fabre – The Virgil of Insects

Jean-Henri Fabre – The Virgil of Insects

On December 22, 1821, French entomologist Jean-Henri Fabre was born. Being a prolific author, his greatest achievement lies in the polularization of insect natural history. Victor Hugo dubbed him “the insects’ Homer” and Edmond Rostand named him the “Virgil of insects.” Darwin cited him as “an incomparable observer.” Jean-Henri Casimir Fabre was born in Saint Léons in Aveyron, France. He spent the first years of his youth at Le Malaval,…
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